PRESENTED in the order of their publication, these Fragments will, I think, make it plain that, within the last two years, I have added no material iniquity to the list previously recorded against me. I have gone carefully over them all this year in Switzerland, bestowing special attention upon the one which has given most offense.
IN the “Perfect Description of Virginia,” 1649, the opossum was noticed as “a beast that hath a bagge under her belly, into which she takes her young ones, if at any time affrighted, and carries them away.” Lawson says: "She is the wonder of all animals. The female doubtless breeds her young at her teats, for I have seen them stick fast thereto, when they have been no bigger than a small raspberry, and seemingly inanimate. She has a pouch or false belly wherein she carries her young, after they are from those teats, till they can shift for themselves. ... If a cat has nine lives, this creature surely has nineteen; for if you break every bone in their skin, and mash their skull, leaving them for dead, you may come an hour after, and they will be gone quite away. ... Their fur is not esteemed nor used, save that the Indians spin it into girdles and garters.”
FACTS already named show how sacrifices to the man recently dead pass into sacrifices to his preserved body. We have seen that to the corpse of a Tahitian chief daily offerings were made on an altar by a priest; and the ancient Central Americans performed kindred rites before bodies dried by artificial heat.
IN selecting a subject for the lecture which, at the request of the council of the British Association, I undertook to give you during its present meeting, I have been guided by the desire to tell you something that would be new to you in regard to matters with which you are already familiar, and to connect this with the results of my own deep-sea researches, in which I might hope that my own local connection with Bristol would lead you to feel somewhat of a personal interest.
THERE are certain mental mysteries associated with peculiar states of disease, and especially with low, nervous diseases, which discover unexpected powers of mind, and which illustrate some of the conditions on which human life depends, and the laws that govern its continuance.
WE walk along a rocky beach when the tide is out. Twice every twenty-four hours this narrow zone is sea and twice it is land. Its tenants are, as itself, a sort of dividing zone between land and sea. The Algæ in the tide-pools will remind you of Confervæ in the ponds.
IN accordance with the practice followed for some years past by the presidents of the sections of the British Association, I propose, before proceeding with our ordinary business, to offer for your consideration some observations relative to the branch of knowledge with which this section is more specially concerned.
THE process of diamond-cutting is a very simple matter to those acquainted with the nature of the gem. To cut the facets, two stones are cemented on two sticks, and rubbed against each other until a facet is cut; then the position of one of the stones is changed, and another flat surface is cut.
LANGUAGE possesses a double imperfection. It is incomplete as an expression, as a product, as a symbol; it is imperfect, also, as a cause, as an excitant. It is inadequate both to perfect expression and to perfect impression. It fails to receive fully all that the mind would put upon it, neither does it faithfully deliver all which it fairly received.
AT the outset I drew a distinction between theology and religion. Theology I considered to be the intellectual or scientific knowledge of God, religion the imaginative or sympathetic knowledge of him. After examining, then, to what extent theology is modified by the omission of the supernatural source of knowledge, after showing that it is in no way destroyed, since it has always been of the essence of theology to inquire what is the relation of the universe to human ideals—and this inquiry remains legitimate, necessary, and all-important, whether we appeal to natural or supernatural evidence—I pass on to consider the modification produced by the same omission in religion.
JOHN WILLIAM DAWSON was born at Pictou, Nova Scotia, in 1820. He received his early academic training in the College of Pictou. Here, in addition to the regular course of study, he investigated with great success the natural history of his native province, thus early manifesting a taste for original scientific inquiry.
SOME months ago a correspondent asked the Nation what were the best books to read on the theory of evolution. It replied, and seized the occasion to draw a contrast unfavorable to Herbert Spencer, whose books on that subject, it took pains to say, it did not recommend.
WE had occasion in the October number of THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY to notice the last report of the Astronomer Royal of England, and to remark upon the great persistency with which "the fundamental idea” of the Royal Observatory had been followed out for forty years, and the great success which had attended its work.
United States Board for testing Iron and Steel.—We have already (in the July number of the MONTHLY) called attention to the researches proposed to be made by the United States Board for testing Iron and Steel, and recur to the subject in order to stimulate those of our readers who may be in possession of facts bearing on the inquiry to communicate with the chairmen of the various committees into which the board has been divided.
SIR CHARLES WHEATSTONE died at Paris, October 21st, at the age of seventy-three. In England, he is reputed to have been the inventor of the electric telegraph, but in this country his claim is disputed, the credit of that momentous invention being assigned to Morse and Henry.